Monday, February 28, 2022

Calico Monday

Happy Monday!

On Friday, I posted the video Quilt Clothes Must Die.   Libby wrote:

"I made a quilted maternity dress (wish I had a picture) but I quilted the fabric in the skirt myself! It was winter and all I had on hand was cotton."

That rang a bell for me.  I have a file with the heading "calicos".  The reason it rang a bell for me was there was a fashion trend in the early 1950s.  Quilted skirts were referred to as "calico quilts" and quite popular:

Above: 1951
A variety of fabrics were used for these skirts (not just cotton) so I think it was just a nickname for a quilted piece of fabric.

Above and below: 1952

The term was used again in the 1970s:

Of course this wasn't the only time that a quilted piece of fabric was used to keep women warm.  Petticoats were often quilted and provided extra comfort to women.  I wrote about one that Beth and I found that was used as quilt batting in a tied quilt here.

Most of us know that calico actually refers to printed cotton and was named after the town in India called Calicut.  Still I wonder what comes to mind when you hear the word.  For me, the variety of prints offered in the 1970s that were popular many that were printed by Ely and Walker.  Their fabric was often referred to as Quadriga Cloth:

Early in my quilt collecting days, an appraiser was sure that my quilt hailed from the 1970s because this fabric was in the quilt.  She (the appraiser) said she had sewn clothes using this very fabric:

Later as quilt scholarship evolved, we all learned that Ely and Walker manufactured very similar if not identical prints for decades.  

Linda was very fond of bright colored calicos.  When she gave up sewing, she gave me her stash of fabrics.  Many of the fabrics were from the 1970s and early 1980s and I made her this quilt:
The red was actually parts of an unfinished dress that I took apart to use.

What do you think of when you hear the word, calico?

Have a safe and happy day!


  1. I think of the same thing as you. I inherited my mother's stash of "Calico's" when she passed away. I'm not sure what I'm going to do with them but I hand on to them nonetheless. Calico also reminds me of Holly Hobby.

  2. What do I think...... cutesy fabric with small prints.... that is "dated" fabric. Quilts do not come to mind.

  3. Caused me to remember the movie, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, where cloths for the "brides" came from quilts at the remote farm...